World of Tanks: Blitz

Developer:  Wargaming
Download:  Get on iTunes
Official link:  World of Tanks
Price: Free (in-app purchases available)

What’s better than a tank? Lots of tanks. What’s better than lots of tanks? A world of tanks! If you agree with either of those statements, then World of Tanks: Blitz is the game for you. Even if you disagree with those statements, this is still an impressive game full of interesting subtleties that are sure to appeal to anyone who likes intricate, strategic battles.

If you’re hoping for an arcade game where you can just blow stuff up, then you’ll likely be disappointed. This is more of a semi-realistic tank simulator that requires you to put some thought into your actions. You can still blow stuff up, but it’s going to take some work. And if you don’t, more than likely you will be the one getting blown up.

Take me for example. As soon as the match started, I confidently yelled “Tank!” at my iPad and heedlessly charged into battle. I quickly spotted my opponent and began blasting him with tank shells. Well, it’s more accurate to say: with a single tank shell. You see, my actions not only gave away my position to my opponent but also to all of his teammates. It was then that I learned that, apparently, being out in the open in a slow-moving, slow-turning tank is a bad idea when you’re facing an army of tanks. Many of them returned fire and made quick work of me as my own teammates undoubtedly shook their heads at their foolish, fallen comrade.

Okay, fine, so that didn’t work.

In the next 7-vs-7 match, I humbly whispered “tank” into my iPad as I proceeded to not move a single inch from my starting position. I then maneuvered between two small buildings where I was much more hidden and protected yet still able to survey much of the battlefield. It was then that I spotted my prey, some fool who had just mindlessly charged out into the open. (Hahaha, seriously, who does that?!)

Switching to Sniper Mode, I waited for the enemy tank to turn sideways and then fired right at its treads to cause the most damage. It was a massive blow that even took away some of his ability to turn. I let my teammates finish him off because I had noticed another enemy attempting to flank my team’s base. Repositioning myself on the other side of the building, I was able to take him down without much fear of return fire. With two enemies gone, our opponents were at quite the disadvantage and soon lost the match.

Okay, that was really cool.

If you like those kinds of methodical tactics, you’ll really like this game. And if you like doing those kinds of actions as a team, then you’ll really, really like this game and understand why it’s one of the top free iPad games. I can only imagine how deep and complex a match could be when both teams are chatting amongst themselves and coordinating their strategies.

The game itself runs remarkably well given all that it has to do. Though it sacrifices some on graphics quality to run smoothly on older devices (like my iPad 2), it still looks top-notch, whether the battlefield is the desert, rolling hills, or a more urban setting. You may get tired of your tank commander yelling “Penetration!” but fortunately there are options to handle that. In fact, there are all kinds of choices available to change graphics and sound and controls, so you should be able to customize it to your liking.

Driving the tank is somewhat awkward on the iPad, but I think that’s mainly because tanks in general move somewhat awkwardly. The controls are as good as can be for simulated twin joysticks, where one controls the tank and one controls the camera. It indeed works fine, but I imagine playing the PC version with a keyboard and a mouse would be far more comfortable and much easier.

In addition to the excellent combat, World of Tanks: Blitz has all the other elements of a very good game. As you emerge victorious from various battles, you receive both experience and credits. Experience is needed in order to gain access to different upgrades for your tank (such as better weapons, better engines, etc.) and even different tiers of more advanced tanks with better stats. Once available, you can then purchase these upgrades (as well as ammunition and other consumables like health kits) with credits. There are a lot of different tanks to acquire, so there’s always something pushing you to keep playing, and many of these tanks have unique features that affect the gameplay in subtle ways (such as the tanks without rotating turrets).

You do have the option of purchasing in-game gold with real money. This is used to buy a subscription to a premium account that grants you additional experience and credits upon finishing a match. It’s never really pushed upon you, and it seems more than fair given that you can play the entire game without spending a cent.

World of Tanks: Blitz is an excellent strategic shooter, regardless of your love (or lack thereof) for tanks. With an active online community and an active developer providing updates, there’s a lot of fun to be had in many tactical battles in one of the best free iPad games currently available.

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